Book Review for "The Only Way: A Tale of Pride and Prejudice" (Kindle Edition) by Ola Wegner

Where do I start? There were many things about this book that I did not like. I read most of the sample and the three other reviews (none of which mention what I'm about to mention unless I was just too tired to notice) and was convinced this was another clean continuation. Alas, if I'd actually finished the sample, I would've realized I was mistaken.

In Hunsford, Elizabeth had only just refused Darcy's proposal when she receives notice that her beloved father is dead. She sets out immediately to London to collect Jane and head on to Longbourn to be with their family. Upon hearing the news, Darcy follows her and, with Colonel Fitzwilliam's assistance, escorts her to London in his own carriage. Once there, he has a most interesting proposal. If she agrees to marry him, he will look after her mother and sisters. He will purchase a house in the area of Meryton and settle a sum upon her sisters as their dowries. A serious choice is before her. By marrying Mr. Darcy, she can, in essence, do what she would not do when Collins proposed--see to her family's support and safety. Of course, who in their right mind wouldn't choose Fitzwilliam Darcy over Mr. Collins? She unhappily accepts the proposal. This is a thoroughly interesting premise, so much so that I rushed into purchasing this book without really finishing my homework---a mistake I will not   make again. If you are one who enjoys these romps in the hay with the Darcys, you may really enjoy this book, as there were many things to like (as well as many romps in the hay).

However, if you, like me, cannot stomach reading about most beloved characters' every sexual encounter, then you will not be satisfied with this book. I do not agree that Mr. Darcy kept lovers prior to meeting Elizabeth, despite the fact that I know this to be a common practice of the day. Jane Austen's Darcy, I believe, was above such a thing. Even in the book, he grew to heartily rue this behavior--even so far as to mentioning to the Colonel that if he ever had sons, he would discourage them from the practice. So I can take some pleasure in that. But still. There's no need to go there to begin with. I also detest reading about the sexual encounters of my favorite characters. I read the book and have seen the movies. I know that there was a love and passion between them. Moreover, I am married with four children of my own. So I can put two and two together as to what that passion translates into behind closed doors. I just don't want to read about it!!!!! I cannot put a stronger point on it than that. Yes, upon realizing what was to come, I should've just deleted it off my device. But I had this perverse need to know how it ended. Suffice it to say, there were many parts I skipped over.

Beyond that, however, there were other changes to my beloved characters that I just couldn't stomach. Jane Austen's Elizabeth and Jane are both respectability personified, who would never even so much as allow physical liberties to be taken with them prior to marriage--with, perhaps, with exception to a chaste kiss. Although, I do not recall ever reading about a kiss between Bingley & Jane and Darcy & Lizzy in the book after their engagements. Therefore, I do not believe Elizabeth would allow Mr. Darcy the extremely physical intimacies she permits him prior to their marriage in Ms. Wegner's book. Nor do I believe Jane would secretly conduct a correspondence with Colonel Fitzwilliam (what???!!!!!), agree to marry Mr. Bingley, and then, only weeks before the wedding, elope with the Colonel! She also allowed him to kiss her after only their third meeting. That is not the Jane Bennet that we know and love. Finally, as silly and irresponsible as she is, I do not believe Mrs. Bennet would encourage Lizzy to sleep with Mr. Darcy before their wedding, just to further ensnare him, nor encourage Lydia to entice an officer on her visit to Brighton and allow him to carry her off to Gretna Green.

These are not the characters I've come to love and admire over the years. But if this version of Darcy and Elizabeth is how the author views them, I will not be reading anything of hers again.


Progress Thus Far - 26,000 Words

They say that life imitates art. But in my case, the opposite is true as well. When I read a book, especially one where the author has been successful at drawing me fully into the story, I very often will skip to the end to see how everything turns out (or to see if I've guessed the plot resolution correctly).

Well, just as in my reading, I have skipped around in my writing as well. Normally, I tend to write chronologically. Sometimes, I don't even know where the story will take me at the end. I just write and allow the characters to dictate what happens. Not this time! I've completed (and edited to death) the beginning chapters, detailing the first (and main) crisis in the book. But then writer's block struck. Major. So, instead of stewing about it, I skipped ahead to another section. And then another section. And still another after that. I've skipped so far ahead that I'm now within a couple chapters of the story's conclusion.

As my story is fairly typical of all romance novels--characters meet, fall in love, realize their mutual love for each other, a crisis separates them, followed by a reunion and conclusion of the story--readers will likely surmise the events to take place early on. But that's okay. If they enjoy the journey as much as I have, they'll walk away contented.

It is very strange to think that I am very close to being at least half-way finished with this manuscript. After over two years with these characters languishing on my computer, I've spent more time with them in the last two months than almost anyone else. While, once completed, I will be immensely satisfied to have finished a story, a part of me will be sad to end my time with the characters as well.

Perhaps this is why I've restlessly skipped around in their story, focusing mainly on the end. I want to be assured that these beloved characters are given the happily-ever-after they so richly deserve.